The DA who plans to use his ASSET FORFEITURE FUNDS to buy semiautomatic weapons (AR-15s) and outfit his investigators with assault team gear to go with the weapons now wants the CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS to be under his control?
Isn't that the only conclusion you can reach after reading today's article? At first it looks like he is trying to disassociate from the Code Enforcement guys following the contentious upheaval of the past couple of weeks, but read all the way through...
Remember that? - The controversy stemmed from a number of residents who say that county code enforcers are collaborating with law enforcement and using building code inspections to obtain access to private property and go after marijuana growers.
If Gallegos wants to arm his regular investigators with semi-automatic weapons to go on ASSET FORFEITURE RAIDS, won't the Code Enforcement Team be invaluable? And will they then be armed with AR-15s?
DA rescinds code enforcement officers’ police powers
Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said he has rescinded the Code Enforcement Unit officers’ police powers granted under his authority, but county staff said the move doesn’t stick.
The county’s Code Enforcement Unit controversy has been broiling publicly since April 4 when the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project held a town hall meeting in Garberville to hear rural residents’ allegations of excessive police force to remedy building code violations.
While it is not directly in response to that meeting, Gallegos said Wednesday that he doesn’t want the “life-and-death” responsibility to deputize those officers who could shoot someone or may be shot if he has no authority over them.
“To ask me to deputize someone with those responsibilities and to have no oversight over them is wrong,” Gallegos said. “I refuse to participate in that.”
...Interim County Counsel Wendy Chaitin, whose office oversees the Code Enforcement Unit’s two armed officers, said Wednesday that Gallegos’ action isn’t so simple.
She and other county administrators don’t believe the officers’ police powers have been stripped because of Gallegos’ action to rescind his authority.
However, because the DA doesn’t want to participate in the current structure where he deputizes her employees, Chaitin said she voluntarily agreed last week to disarm Code Enforcement officers Jeff Conner and John Desadier while everything is being sorted out.
“We are all in discussions and are working on ways to best structure the unit,” Chaitin said.
Also in agreement that the DA’s action doesn’t rescind the officer’s deputized status is County Administrative Officer Loretta Nickolaus, who said she learned of Gallegos’ announcement in an e-mail circulated Wednesday.
Nickolaus said the DA can’t direct personnel actions for employees not under his control.
That’s not how Gallegos sees it and he said the intent of his action was to remove the Code Enforcement Unit officers’ weapons and badges under his authority, which he said he believes he’s effectively done.
Despite the apparent inter-department conflict, Gallegos said he supports Chaitin, the Code Enforcement Unit and the work they are trying to do, although he might not necessarily support everything they have done.
...Just how the issue will be resolved is uncertain, but Gallegos offered his preference for where the code enforcement officers should end up.
Because the officers are armed and due to the nature of their work, Gallegos said he believes code enforcement might better fall under his direction.
“It’s a natural fit in this office,” Gallegos said.
If they were assigned to work under him as investigators, Gallegos said he would deputize them.
“But as it stands right now, the arrangement isn’t good for anyone,” Gallegos said.....
Just take a look at what he has done to the other programs under his control and you';ll have a pretty good idea what he can do to this one.